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May 8, 2024
(Updated on
Jan 17, 2024

How To Write Email Subject Lines That Will Boost Email Open Rates

The importance of creating an attention-grabbing and effective subject line has never been higher, given that the typical person receives more than 40 emails every day.  It's the gateway to your message—the make-or-break moment that determines whether your email will be opened, read, and acted upon. In this guide, we'll delve into the dos and don'ts of writing email subject lines that captivate your audience and boost your email marketing success.

Source: Entelech

Let's kick things off with a real-life example that highlights the importance of a well-crafted subject line. Imagine receiving an email from a renowned cell phone service provider with the subject line, "Make this Mother’s Day the best one yet!" The immediate response? Delete. Why did this subject line fail so miserably? It lacked uniqueness, failed to be interesting or enticing, and, most importantly, it didn't resonate with the target audience. Any mother who considers upgrading their iPhone as the highlight of Mother’s Day might need to reassess their priorities. So, what could the company have done differently? If they were set on promoting cell phones as Mother’s Day gifts, a humorous approach would have been more effective. For instance, a subject line like "Moms don't want macaroni art!" combines humour, personalization, and a hint of truth. It's a far cry from the generic and uninspiring original attempt.

Consider another scenario where a tech retailer is launching a summer sale to entice customers with the latest devices. A subject line like "Devices on Sale This Summer!" is a common but somewhat lacklustre approach. To elevate it, focus on the elements discussed earlier. A revamped subject line such as "Hotter than a Summer Sunburn—Our Tech Deals Won't Leave You Red-Faced!" achieves several objectives. It remains concise, staying within the recommended character limit. By addressing the audience directly—those looking for summer tech updates—it becomes more personal. The element of truth lies in the promise of exclusive styles at irresistible prices, avoiding excessive clickbait. Relevance is maintained by aligning the offer with the seasonal needs and desires of the target audience. Crafting subject lines in this manner can transform a standard promotion into a captivating invitation that encourages recipients to explore what the email has to offer.

 The Art of Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

Source: EDSFZE

Writing an attention-grabbing subject line is undoubtedly challenging, but adhering to certain rules can significantly improve your odds of getting those emails opened.

1. Keep it Short: You've got a limited space to make an impact—approximately 40 characters or seven words. In the fast-scrolling world of email, brevity is your ally. Long-winded subject lines risk being overlooked or truncated, losing their punch.

2. Be Personal: Personalization is the key to connecting with your audience. Address your recipients based on their personas—whether they are dads, CEOs, marketers, wholesalers, men, or women. Tailoring your subject line to your audience makes your email more relatable and increases engagement.

3. Use Truthful Elements: While avoiding excessive clickbait, incorporate an element of truth in your subject line. Set realistic expectations for what the recipient will find when they open the email. Authenticity builds trust, and trust is crucial in email marketing.

4. Relevance: Make your subject line directly relevant to the recipient's needs and interests. Avoid using location-specific details unless you can confirm their relevance to the recipient. For instance, a subject line focused on "Top 10 Things You Need for Your Pool" wouldn't resonate if the recipient lives in Japan and doesn't have a pool.

What Not to Do: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we've covered the fundamentals of effective subject lines, let's explore the pitfalls you should steer clear of.

1. Avoid Generic or Overused Phrases: Subject lines like "Don't miss out!" or "Limited-time offer!" are generic and overused. They lack originality and fail to stand out in a crowded inbox. Aim for uniqueness and creativity to capture attention.

2. Don't Mislead: Misleading subject lines erode trust and can lead to recipients marking your emails as spam. If your subject line promises something, ensure that the email content delivers on that promise. Honesty is the foundation of a successful email marketing strategy.

3. Skip Unnecessary Words: Every word in your subject line should serve a purpose. Remove any unnecessary words that don't add value or contribute to the impact of the message. A concise subject line is more likely to be read and understood quickly.

4. Stay Away from All Caps: Using all capital letters in your subject line is akin to shouting. It can be perceived as aggressive and may trigger spam filters. Maintain a professional tone and reserve the use of capital letters for emphasis sparingly.

5. Don't Overcomplicate: Simplicity is key. Avoid using complex language or jargon that might confuse recipients. Your subject line should convey the message clearly and quickly. Overcomplicating it increases the risk of your email being ignored or misunderstood.

6. Mind Your Tone: Ensure that the tone of your subject line aligns with your brand and the overall tone of your email. Inconsistent tones can create confusion and diminish the impact of your message. Whether it's playful, professional, or urgent, maintain a consistent tone throughout.

For email marketing, the subject line is your first and often only chance to grab your audience's attention. By keeping it short, personalizing your message, incorporating truthful elements, ensuring relevance, and avoiding common mistakes, you can significantly improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Remember, crafting the perfect subject line is both an art and a science. It requires creativity, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of your audience. Experiment with different approaches, analyze performance metrics, and continuously refine your strategy to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of email marketing. With these guidelines in mind, you're well-equipped to write subject lines that not only get your emails opened but also leave a lasting impression on your recipients.